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Burning Issues: Are We Ready For A Global Economic Slowdown?

Josh Bivens, director of research and policy at the Economic Policy Institute, assesses in this Burning Issues video segment whether the United States is ready for the next global economic slowdown.

Bernie Defuses “Qualified” Dispute

Sanders says Clinton is qualified on NBC’s “Today.” Politico: “Bernie Sanders reversed himself Friday, tempering his vicious two-day attack line that Hillary Clinton is unqualified for the presidency. ‘Of course’ the former secretary of state is qualified for the White House, Sanders said … ‘On her worst day she would be an infinitely better president than either of the Republican candidates,’ he said…”

Sanders closing gap in California. Sacramento Bee: “Rallying a crush of young people and independent voters to his campaign, Bernie Sanders has cut deeply into Hillary Clinton’s lead in California two months before the state’s Democratic presidential primary, according to a new Field Poll. Sanders, who trailed Clinton by double digits in January, now lags just 6 percentage points behind.”

Sanders struggles with older voters. W. Post: “Even in his home state of Vermont, the only state where Sanders won voters 65 or older, he still did 18 points worse with that group than he did with voters under 30. This has been hugely problematic for Sanders, since older voters are much more likely to come out to vote than younger ones.”

Bernie expected to win Wyoming tomorrow. Politico: “While there’s been no public polling to date, as a Western caucus state with a largely white electorate, Wyoming has the ingredients for a Sanders victory … Sanders’ path to victory in a small-turnout caucus — there are only roughly 41,000 registered Democrats in the entire state — is through making sure college students come out to vote…”

Trump Retools

Trump reshuffles staff. NYT: “The stepped-up role for the convention manager, Paul Manafort, a veteran of floor fights whose presence on Mr. Trump’s campaign has created anxiety among other top aides, was intended in part to quash reports of infighting and concerns about an organization whose performance has been lackluster at best in a recent string of nominating contests.”

Trump’s health care plans make no sense. NYT: “This whipsaw of ideas is exasperating Republican experts on health care, who call his proposals an incoherent mishmash that could jeopardize coverage for millions of newly insured people.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch floats Ryan for president. The Hill quotes: “I think it’s just natural that that speculation would happen because he’s one of the great leaders here on Capitol Hill and one of the people who brings both sides, all sides together…”

Obama Warns GOP Undermining SCOTUS

Obama pressures GOP over SCOTUS in Chicago speech. WSJ: “…Mr. Obama warned that allowing federal court nominees to become embroiled in politics put the integrity of the judicial system at risk. ‘The courts will be just an extension of our legislatures and our elections and our politics. and that erodes the institutional integrity of the judicial branch,’ said Mr. Obama.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham will meet with Garland. Politico: “‘Senator Graham remains opposed to moving forward with the Garland nomination,’ [his spokesman] said in an e-mail … But the meeting itself is a reversal from what Graham said the day Garland was nominated, when he stated flatly that he would not meet with the nominee.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley defiant. The Hill quotes: “I’m not about to flip-flop because the left has organized what they call a pressure campaign.”

Panama Reverberations

Panama Papers scandal impacts trade debate. W. Post: “Trade critics lambasted the [Obama] administration as failing to heed their prior warnings and win sufficient financial reforms from Panama before signing a landmark free-trade deal in 2011, missing a chance to disrupt the elaborate financial arrangements disclosed in a massive leak of private data last weekend. But Obama aides and their allies responded forcefully Thursday, defending the U.S.-Panama trade pact as an instrument that the administration used to exert leverage and bring greater transparency to Panama’s shadowy offshore banking system.”

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown push for Treasury Dept. investigation. Politico: “Two Democratic senators on Thursday said the Treasury Department needs to investigate whether U.S. individuals were involved in misconduct associated with the law firm at the center of the Panama Papers scandal … A Treasury spokeswoman said the agency will not comment specifically on the Panama Papers’ findings.”

UK PM ensnared. AP: “….British Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged Thursday that he profited from shares in an offshore firm set up by his father. Cameron told ITV news that he and his wife, Samantha, sold shares worth 31,500 pounds (currently $44,300) in an offshore fund named Blairmore Holdings in January 2010 … There is no suggestion the arrangement was illegal, but the revelation has brought calls for David Cameron to come clean about his financial affairs.”

America’s wealthy don’t need Panama. NYT: “‘In Wyoming, Nevada and Delaware, it’s possible to create these shell corporations with virtually no questions asked,’ said Matthew Gardner, executive director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy … In some places, it can be more difficult to get a fishing license than to register a shell company. And it doesn’t cost much more.”

Competing Data On Jobs

Work force growing. Bloomberg: “…more than two million people have flooded into the work force since September, the biggest six-month gain in records going back to 1990…”

Though many new jobs are not full-time. TNR’s David Dayen: “…eye-opening new research from Princeton’s Alan Krueger and Harvard’s Lawrence Katz on Americans in alternative work arrangements, which they defined as ‘temporary help agency workers, on-call workers, contract workers, and independent contractors or freelancers’ [shows this] cohort of the workforce grew from 10.1 percent in 2005 to 15.8 percent at the end of 2015, representing an increase of 9.4 million workers. That’s all of the growth in the labor market over the past decade.”

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